February 22, 2018

Children Exposed To Domestic Violence Have Same Brain Trauma as Soldiers Exposed to Combat

A new study published in the journal Current Biology shows the brains of children exposed to family violence resemble those of combat veterans. The study concludes that, like soldiers, these children are more susceptible to mental illnesses such as anxiety disorders and depression later in life. Eamon McCrory of Britain’s University College London, who led the study, told Reuters that relatively little is known about how early adversity “gets under the skin and increases a child’s later vulnerability, even into adulthood.”
Researchers at the Makers of Memories Foundation, which works to end the cycle of domestic violence by focusing on childhood exposure to violence, shows these children are 50 times more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol and 6 times more likely to commit suicide. Roughly 80 percent go on to repeat the cycle of violence in adulthood. Research shows the impacts of childhood exposure are so severe that affected individuals meet the clinical criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder.
“This new study, while small in sample size, demonstrates that children exposed to domestic violence may have a heightened neurological reaction to anger expressed by others. This may translate into greater anxiety and mistaken social cues in key social interactions and lead to other longer-term difficulties for children,” said Makers of Memories Foundation researcher Jeffrey L Edleson, a Professor in the University of Minnesota School of Social Work and Director of the Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse.
Described by UNICEF as “one of the most damaging, unaddressed human rights violations in the world today,” domestic violence impacts 5 million children in the U.S. and 275 million children worldwide each year. There are 40 million American adults who experienced domestic violence as children and still live with the damaging effects.
For more information, comments and case studies from Makers of Memories, contact Jillian Nannery at The TASC Group: Phone: 646-723-4344; Email: Jill@thetascgroup.com.
About The Makers of Memories Foundation:
The Makers of Memories Foundation works to end the cycle of domestic violence through an innovative national campaign focused on the children who are being impacted as well as adults who experienced violence when they were young and are still living with the effects. Learn more at makersofmemories.org.

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